“I knew I was saving this ring for someone. Today I want to give it to you, and someday you can give it to our daughter.” The ring on Caroline’s right hand has been a symbol to her since she was a young teenager that God was preparing a perfect life companion for her. It has been a constant reminder that through the trials and changes of life, His plan will prevail and she could stay steadfast in that truth. She has allowed him to prepare her- heart, mind, and soul- for the man she would someday marry. On Saturday July 8th, she placed that ring in the hand of her soon-to-be husband.
As thoughtful, kind-hearted, patient, and loving as Caroline is, Joseph is too. He also has a laugh and a glow that lights up the world. He, too, has been preparing his heart for when God gave him his perfect life-companion. During their emotional First Look, Joseph said “You are more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.” He treasures Caroline as a rare and perfect gift.
Joseph also gave Caroline a wedding gift- a beautiful wall print of their new last name and all of the special milestones they’ve been through together so far. But then she turned it over… letters from everyone in her family were taped to the back of the frame, along with a USB drive. Joseph downloaded ever single text, email, and Facebook message they have ever exchanged so that they would never be lost! He thought that the gifts were over, but then Caroline said she had one more surprise for him. It wasn’t just a surprise to him, she kept it a surprise from everyone! With nervous hands, she sat down at the piano and played him the song that she wrote for him. Caroline is a brilliant musician and vocalist, so this was no ordinary song. She played and sang her heart to the love of her life while he watched and listened in awe in wonder.
Joseph and Caroline could have met while they attended the same college, but their paths just didn’t really cross. It wasn’t until after Caroline returned to the country from studying abroad, that Joseph started attending her church, and they connected over similar experiences. Most of all, they connected over their love for the gospel. The timing was divine and they knew almost instantly that they were meant to spend eternity together.
Joseph and Caroline became husband and wife in the same room where they first met, and where Joseph proposed. Their wedding was elegant, classy, and fun- which is exactly how anyone would describe them! Caroline wore the bracelet that Joseph had given her as a gift, and one of the most beautiful lace gowns we’ve ever seen! Her sweet and talented cousin designed all of the floral arrangements, and our good friend DJ Jellybean delivered an incredible reception experience. Joseph and Caroline’s friends and family were supportive, loving, encouraging, helpful, and SO MUCH FUN!
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Koon! We love you!
Ceremony Venue | The Bible Church of Little Rock
Portrait & Reception Venue | Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
Bride’s Dress Designer | Sottero & Midgley
Bride’s Dress Shop | Low’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | JJ’s House
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire | Jos. A. Bank
Floral Design | Justin Jackson
Invitations | The American Wedding
DJ | DJ Jellybean
Cake | Debra Brown
You’ve probably heard people say “it was a sign” dozens of times. When Carson first “met” Rachel, he received a sign that she was the girl for him… literally. We’re not talking metaphoric here, it WAS a sign! A Practice Plus sign, to be exact! Rachel had been asked to be one of the faces of Practice Plus’s new campaign, which she shyly agreed to. Her face was one on a sign displayed around Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, and it caught Carson’s attention. One day one of Carson’s coworkers, who was bound on finding him a girlfriend, asked him what he was looking for. Standing next to the sign, he halfway joked and pointed at the picture of Rachel and said “her.” What Carson didn’t know was that his coworker would “coincidentally” meet Rachel soon and begin playing Cupid. After Carson found out that his coworker had told this beautiful mystery girl all about him, he was SO embarrassed that he found Rachel on Facebook and messaged her a sincere apology. Rachel appreciated the kind gesture and shrugged it off as just a weird encounter. But somehow the messages slowly continued…
The beginning of their acquaintanceship was so odd that Rachel had a hard time accepting that Carson could actually be the incredibly kind, funny, and God-loving guy that he seemed to be. After some time of talking online, she agreed to go on a date with him. They chose a casual place, Tacos 4 Life in Conway, to meet and get to know each other in person. It turned out that he really was THAT guy, Rachel really was the “poster girl,” and the sign was really THE sign! You guys, you just can’t make this stuff up!
Carson and Rachel are two of the kindest, funniest, energetic, sentimental, and devoted people who could absolutely not be more perfect together. They were joined as husband and wife on Saturday surrounded by hundreds of loving family and friends, at the altar in front of a beautiful wooden cross which Carson built. Rachel paid tribute to her strong family heritage by wearing her great grandmother’s pearl necklace and bracelet. Having been in over 20 weddings between the two of them, it was FINALLY Carson and Rachel’s turn! In fact, Rachel and four of her bridesmaids have all been in each other’s weddings! And we’ve been privileged to photograph four of them! Now THAT’S a #bridetribe!!
Carson and Rachel, we are honored to know you and to have been able to share your (seriously) one-of-a-kind love story! Have fun at Disney World!!
Ceremony Venue | R&C Church of Christ
Dress Shop | Inverness Bridal
Veil | Veil Trends Couture
Bride’s Hair/Make up | Emily Tackett
Floral Design | Petal Chik Designs
Videography | Via Media
Coordinating | Diane Nichols
Groomsmen Attire | JC Penney
Reception Venue | Second Baptist Church, Conway
Standing in the driveway of summer camp, two months after their first introduction, Jackson and Sydney professed their love for each other. Almost three years later, standing at the altar in a chapel made of glass, they became husband and wife. Their first meeting was absolutely divine intervention. Sydney had taken a job at a summer camp in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she met the camp director’s son. They were total strangers, but something clicked. Before camp started, they got to know each other through talking on Facebook, and it didn’t take long! They went on their first date when camp started, and the fire was ignited.
Jackson’s mom told us at one point during the wedding day that she couldn’t have picked a more perfect bride for her son. What a treasure! A parent only wants the absolute best for their child, and to be able to say that… well, you just can’t ask for a bigger blessing. And we wholeheartedly agree with Mrs. Carter! We could tell from the minute we sat down with them in Starbucks last summer that their compatibility was on-point. And can we just brag on Sydney for a second? She is one of the most laid back, easy going, thoughtful, caring, and punctual brides we’ve ever met! And so were all nine of her bridesmaids! She was constantly making sure that everyone was doing okay, had everything they needed, and thanking them for coming to her wedding!
Our favorite part of the whole day was Jackson and Sydney’s first look. Sydney had planned an incredible surprise for Jackson by having his grandfather’s wedding band inscribed with the phrase “My Best Buddy.” Jackson and his grandpa were extremely close, and since he’s now in heaven, Sydney wanted to honor his memory and make him a part of their wedding day. She surprised Jackson with the ring during their first look. Jackson also wore his grandpa’s fishing lure pinned to his boutonniere, to keep him close to his heart.
Sydney and her girls spent the morning getting ready at a beautiful historic home in the heart of Hot Springs. The ceremony took place at the Anthony Chapel at Garvan Gardens, and the reception at The Porter House Club in Hot Springs. Their loving family and friends made the day incredibly special and just a whole lot of fun! There was nothing stressful about it! It was perfect in every way from start to finish.
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Carter! Enjoy Charleston!!
Getting ready venue | Private residence in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Ceremony Venue | Anthony Chapel at Garvan Gardens
Bride’s Dress | Oleg Cassini at David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | David’s Bridal
Floral Designer | Petal Chik Designs
Bride’s Shoes | Gianni Bini
Invitations | Minted
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire | Jos. A. Bank
Reception Venue & Catering| The Porterhouse and Belle Arti
Wedding Cake | Sweet Lavender Bake Shop
Reid and I have both been fascinated with Italy since we were kids. When we met, we found out that visiting Italy was on both of our bucket lists. In 2013, three years into marriage, we decided to make it happen, and devised a one-year savings plan to make the trip in September of 2014.
September 14th, 2014, we landed on Italian soil for the first time, completely overwhelmed that this life-long bucket list trip was actually a reality. Jetlagged and wild-eyed, we made our way around the Marco Polo Airport in Venice, trying to figure out what to do next. Our two days in Venice were absolutely magical! We left Venice very early that third morning, we’ll spare you the details, but the trip went downhill in a hurry. We spent two weeks in that beautiful country and to be honest, the trip was a bit of a disaster. We had never traveled internationally and made a lot of rookie mistakes, but also ran into a lot of issues that were out of our control. We visited 9 different cities in those 14 days (which is insane!) and made incredible memories!
A couple of months after the trip, Reid brought up how cool it would be to live in Italy and be on-location destination wedding photographers. Our dream has always been to shoot weddings all over the world (Europe most specifically), and that would give us the incredible opportunity to do it. I laughed (because moving to Italy was crazy!) and dismissed it. But he kept bringing it up. The conversations grew longer and deeper each time we talked, and I actually started entertaining the idea. That insane, daunting, and terrifying idea. Even though our trip was far from perfect, Italy had completely stolen our hearts. The people, the culture, the language, the food, the breathtaking beauty around every corner… our hearts ached to be back there.
For the next two years, we battled back and forth with the idea. We researched how to get Visas, find a place to live, find jobs, and healthcare. We looked at the financials and how long it would take us to be financially ready for the move. And we prayed. A lot. There was this big hang up, though, that we just couldn’t get past. There were many factors that would make us want to stay, but one thing loomed over us darker than the others. We wanted a family. Moving to Italy would indefinitely put having a child on hold, and we just couldn’t get past that. After months of hashing it out through tears, fear and frustration, and changing our minds countless times, we had a breakthrough. In May of 2016, God made it extremely clear that it was time to leave the decision totally up to Him, (which we should’ve done from the beginning!) and actually allow Him to tell us which path to take. Have a baby or move to Italy? His choice.
Last August, it really seemed as though He was pulling us toward Italy, and we decided to plan another trip there to move forward with the moving plans. We started telling our family and closest friends, some of the hardest conversations we’ve ever had, and asked for their prayers. We thought it would take at least until spring to save up the money, but when our trip to New York, planned for September, fell through and we were suddenly blessed with an unexpected and large amount of money from new wedding bookings, we picked the ONE available week left for the entire year! What’s ironic is that we landed in Italy on September 13th, exactly two years from our first trip! We had a whirlwind of a week (apparently that’s just the way we do things!) and although we hit a pretty major bump in the road on the first night, it went so much smoother than the first trip! After two years of dreaming of life there, we were a lot more prepared! We were very interested in the city of Lucca as a possible new home, so we spent a day there, as well as Modena. We felt like we were home. After two years of desperately missing this place, dreaming of what life would be like, we felt like we belonged there.
Then something weird happened. On the flight home, we both felt pretty sure that the decision had been made and that God giving us the means to go visit was His way of giving us our answer (that, and that we still weren’t pregnant). When we landed back in Little Rock, went home, and eased back into reality, something changed. Yeah, we missed Italy terribly, but suddenly the thought of possibly never having a child was devastating. And thought of not living in Italy was not. While we were in Lucca, we spent time with our dear friends (our wedding photographers and my mentors) Kari and Caleb, who moved to Strasbourg, France, and they said something that really hit it home for us. They said “to move overseas, you have to want it more than anything else in the world.” What we finally realized is that as badly as we craved the adventure of moving over there and starting this one-of-a-kind business, we wanted a child more.
That was the turning point. We were still open to wherever God called us, whether another city in Arkansas or another continent, but we would do it as a family. It’s absolutely no coincidence that as soon as we realized His plan for us, our precious baby girl came into picture 🙂 One of the places we visited on this last trip was Varenna (pronounced Vuh-ray-nuh), which is a small town on Lake Como. It is without a doubt the most beautiful, inspiring, and magnificent place we have EVER been. We only spent a few hours there, but it changed us. Its beauty is a miracle straight from the hand of God. Our daughter’s name is Ella Varenna Riggan. We haven’t met her yet, but she is the most beautiful, inspiring, and magnificent thing we have ever experienced and she has changed us. Her beauty is a miracle straight from the hand of God, and we are SO thankful that we chose her.
A few years ago, Michelle flew from her home in Hot Springs, AR to Chicago for her cousin’s wedding. From across the room, she spotted a familiar face. Jose looked a lot different than the kid she had a crush on in grade school all of those years ago. After she moved to Arkansas from California, she never expected to see him again. And she certainly didn’t expect what would happen next.
Jose may have missed it back then, but he definitely didn’t this time. The two exchanged phone numbers, then flew back to their opposite ends of the country. It started with some texting, which turned into phone calls, which turned into friendship, which turned into love. They lived almost 2,000 miles apart, but grew closer and closer every day. Jose knew that God had reunited him with Michelle for a divine purpose, and didn’t want to spend another minute apart. In the spring of 2016, while Michelle was visiting him in LA, he planned a romantic picnic at a lighthouse, overlooking the Pacific. While she was distracted taking pictures of the view, Jose knelt down and pulled out the ring. Obviously she said yes! 🙂
The couple chose Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas to celebrate their marriage. Dozens of family and friends flew in from California to show their love for these precious people. Michelle could’ve worn sweatpants to her wedding and still looked gorgeous, so when she finished putting on her wedding dress, jewelry, and veil… well, you’ll see Jose’s reaction! This sweet young lady was STUNNING! Jose pulled out all the stops with his three piece suit and gorgeous watch, which was a Christmas gift from his bride. As for the weather… I know that we Arkansans tend to talk about the weather too much, but seriously. No rain, little humidity, highs in the 70s, and a slight breeze in MAY! That just doesn’t happen! It was perfect! A fantastic team of vendors made Jose and Michelle’s day even more spectacular, so make sure you give them a look at the bottom of the post!
Jose and Michelle, we can’t thank you enough for trusting us to tell your love story. God is doing big things in your lives, and we are thrilled for you to start this new chapter together! Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Vasquez!!
Ceremony & Reception Venue | Garvan Woodland Gardens
Bouquets | Flowers & Home, Hot Springs
Reception Flowers | A Floral
Bridesmaids Dresses | Azazie
Invitations | Mixbook
Catering | Taco Mama
Cake | Ambrosia Bakery
Videographer | Micah Fairchild